The Finance Ministry last month proposed to decriminalise minor offences, including those relating to cheque bounce and repayment of loans, in as many as 19 legislations.
In line with that, the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment put out a proposal on its website for the amendment of RPwD Act and has sought feedback by July 10.
"In order to develop consensus, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, which administers Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act invites the comments of state governments/ UT administrations, civil society/ non-government organisations, academicians, public and private sector organisations, multilateral Institutions and members of the public to submit their comments on the proposed amendments," the proposal said.
Under the heading of "Decriminalisation of Minor Offences For Improving Business Sentiment And Unclogging Court Processes – Amendment in RPwD Act, 2016", the proposal lists amendment of RPwD Act under provision 89, 92 (a) and 93.
The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities proposes that a new section 95A may be inserted in the Act.
"With a view to ensure implementation of the RPwD Act, 2016 as well as providing mechanism for speedy discharge of cases for minor violation without involving serious offence, the provision is proposed to be introduced," it said.
The proposal said under section 95A of RPwD Act "any offence under Section 89, 92(a) and 93, may, either before or after the institution of proceedings, be compounded by the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities or the State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, as the case may be, with the consent of the aggrieved person with disability, by such amount and in such manner as the Central Government may, by notification, specify in this behalf".
"Where an offence has been compounded under sub-sections (1), the offender, if in custody, shall be discharged and any proceeding in respect of such offence, shall be dropped," it said.
Under Section 89 of the RPwD Act, any person who contravenes any of the provisions of this Act, or of any rule made there under shall for first contravention be punishable with fine which may extend to Rs 10,000 rupees and for any subsequent contravention with fine which shall not be less than Rs 50,000 but which may extend to Rs 5 lakh.
Under Section 92(a) of the RPwD Act, "whoever,intentionally insults or intimidates with intent to humiliate a person with disability in any place within public view would be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to five years and with fine".
Under Section 93 of the RPwD Act, "whoever, fails to produce any book, account or other documents or to furnish any statement, information or particulars which, under this Act or any order, or direction made or given thereunder, is duty bound to produce or furnish or to answer any question put in pursuance of the provisions of this Act or of any order, or direction made or given thereunder, shall be punishable with fine which may extend to Rs 25,000 in respect of each offence, and in case of continued failure or refusal, with further fine which may extend to Rs 1,000 for each day, of continued failure or refusal after the date of original order imposing punishment of fine".
Noting that decriminalisation of minor offences is one of the thrust areas of the government, the DEPwD said in the proposal said the risk of imprisonment for actions or omissions that aren''t necessarily fraudulent or the outcome of malafide intent is a big hurdle in attracting investments.
"This becomes even more pertinent in the post COVID19 response strategy to help revive the economic growth and improve the justice system," it said.
Given the nature of pendency in all tiers of the courts and the time taken for disputes to be resolved, the DEPwD said legislative measures have been considered to help restore trust in doing business.
"In this pursuit, it is also important that a balance be found so that malafide intent is punished while other less serious offences are compounded. Accordingly, a framework is required such that a penalty levied is sufficient to act as a deterrent. Actions taken for decriminalisation of minor offences are expected to go a long way in improving ease of doing business and helping unclog the court system and prisons," the proposal said. PTI UZM AAR AAR
Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI